My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I am not sure how to review this book, on the one hand it had all the elements for a good historical fiction with romance, past mystery, the folly’s legend, old books and journals and researching and deciphering the truth, but on the other hand the pacing was slow slow slow that kind of spoiled the reading experience for me. The story telling was good and the amount of research that went into getting the astronomical data is clearly evident. This book did make me look into the night sky and enjoy the stars. Esther’s story really captures the interest of the reader. I loved how Jude forays into the past and finds all the missing pieces of the jigsaw puzzle and the numerous elements that links to the Starbrough Hall. Not spellbinding enough but still a a very engaging read and thus 3.5 stars!
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Auction house appraiser Jude leaves London for her dream job at Starbrough Hall, an estate in the countryside, examining and pricing the manuscripts and instruments of an eighteenth-century astronomer. She is welcomed by Chantal Wickham and Jude feels close to the old woman at once: they have both lost their husbands. Hard times have forced the Wickham family to sell the astronomer’s work, their land and with it, the timeworn tower that lies nearby. The tower was built as an observatory for astronomer Anthony Wickham and his daughter Esther, and it served as the setting for their most incredible discoveries.
Though Jude is far away from her life in London, her arrival at Starbrough Hall brings a host of childhood memories. She meets Euan, a famed writer and naturalist who lives in the gamekeeper’s cottage at the foot of the tower, where Jude’s grandfather once lived. And a nightmare begins to haunt her six-year-old niece, the same nightmare Jude herself had years ago. Is it possible that the dreams are passed down from one generation to the next? What secrets does the tower hold? And will Jude unearth them before it’s too late?